Part Three in a series called “The Number One Predictor of Divorce – And How to Fix it”

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

In previous posts we have talked about which problems most likely destroy marriages and where your marriage is heading. As a follow up, we would like to to share a few tips on how to work on your marriage.

Kicking Contempt to the Kerb

Now that you know how harmful contempt can be, here are five things you can do in your relationship to handle conflict better:

1. Be on the lookout for common no-no’s like rolling your eyes, sneering, or making passive-aggressive comments.

2. Give your expectations a reality check. “Partners often idealize one another, and then expect so much,” explains McNulty. He suggests to remind yourself that your partner is a different person with different opinions and a different set of fundamental needs. You will not agree on everything and you have to learn to be okay with that in order to maintain harmony. Why? “With most couples, 69 percent of the problems in any marriage are perpetual or ongoing issues, and only about 31 percent of problems are solved in a straightforward manner,” McNulty explains. In other words, the majority of your problems will not go away or be solved—you’ll just have to learn to compromise.

3. Turn the issue around on yourself.  When something really ticks you off, “Think, ‘Why does the behavior bother me so much? Can I learn to live with it?'” If not, you can seek counseling to learn some coping mechanisms, but as McNulty points out that “in marriage, we have to learn to pick and chose our battles.”

4. Instead of feeling anger as your partner is speaking his mind, challenge yourself to listen more deeply to your partner’s point of view. “This helps partners be more patient when they dialogue,” says McNulty.

5. When it’s time to voice your feelings, remember to “complain gently without blaming the other person,” says McNulty. Talk about your feelings, and how you feel, versus blaming or criticizing their actions. “These shifts in behavior are fairly simple but really do make a difference,” McNulty says.

This article was written by Marissa B. Gold. The original content from Woman’s Day can be found here.